raspberryfool: (Default)
In the F3 Golden Sweet x Bijou (GsxB) grow-out, I'm getting mostly small pods, which tells me the allele for large pods is recessive. Several plants have produced some beautiful, large, lemon-yellow pods and I'll certainly be saving their seeds. This is exactly what I wanted from this cross.cut for pics and waffle )
raspberryfool: (Default)
Here are a few images to illustrate my previous pea post:
Cut for pictures )
raspberryfool: (Default)
The hybrid pea plants, and the non-hybrid parent varieties, are rocketting away now. They're mostly around 4 feet tall now, and most are looking chunky and voluptuous. cut for pea obsessiveness! )

So my job tomorrow is to tie them into the canes again; a task I only did last week! meanwhile the garden is looking beautiful; lilac is out and smelling gogeous, strawberry flowers, primroses... I love early summer, though the weather feels less than summery at the moment!

Which reminds me: happy World Naked Gardening Day. I'll pass this year, thanks; I like my neighbours and I'd like to keep it that way. You're welcome! :-D
raspberryfool: (Gardening)
In 2014, as you'll remember, I cross-pollinated the mangetout pea varieties Golden Sweet and Bijou; the former being yellow-podded and the latter having large, wide, green pods. The aim is to introduce the genes for yellow pods from Golden Sweet into the Bijou line.

Last year's F1 plants threw in one surprise; I got everything I'd expected – tall plants, purple splodges in the leaf axils, bi-coloured purple flowers and small, green pods. F1 hybrid seeds are homozygous, which basically means they're genetically identical and only the dominant genes are expressed. The surprise was that instead of being fibreless, the pods on all six F1 plants had a fibrous layer like shelling peas, making them inedible. I've read in several places that mangetout pea plants lack the dominant genes for making fibrous pods. I also understand that dominant genes don't hide themselves away like recessives do, so I've no idea where these fibrous pods were coming from; perhaps G.S. has a fibre-making gene after all. The F1 generation produced over 200 seeds; enough to keep me busy for a few seasons if I wish!

This year, I'm growing out the heterozygous F2 generation, which is where the fun begins. Each seed should be genetically different, and potentially each seed is a new variety. The genes begin to segregate into their parent lines, which is exactly what I've found. Of the forty-odd plants I've grown (all tall), I've had small, yellow mangetout like Golden Sweet; both small and large, green mangetout; and large, green, fibrous pods.


One yellow-podded line looks as though it might be worth growing out – its completely fibreless pods curl upwards rather than lying flat like Golden Sweet's do.


And then there's this; a single plant has produced large, fibreless, yellow pods. I know they're fibreless by the way the seeds deform the pod walls as they mature. The plant is short-ish and a bit scrawny, and the pods seem to become greener as they age; here it's compared with Golden Sweet, which is the small pod on the left of this photo. I tasted one young pod, whichch i found tasted acceptable but wasn't quite as tasty as Golden Sweet. This, however, may be the prototype I'm looking for. Next year's pea-growing is looking exciting!

raspberryfool: (Raspberryfool)
My my, how quickly summer has rolled around! This is a brief pea update with no images; I'll have to do a proper update one day!

The hybrid pea plants from my cross (Bijou (B) x Golden Sweet (G.S.)) grew very well; they're currently bearing a healthy-looking crop of F2 seeds. The F1 generation was very much as I predicted in my earlier post, but they did throw up a few surprises. Below is a quick-and-dirty summary of what i've found so far:Cut for boring waffle... )

So that's the current situation in my pea-crossing experiment. I'll sow a handful for an autumn trial, nature permitting.
raspberryfool: (Gardening)
It's been a good week for getting out into the garden, not only to watch a solar eclipse (Equinox day; March 20th). The morning started cloudy, with tiny breaks occurring here-and-there, but it looked for all the world as though I'd miss the celestial event. The clouds slowly cleared and by 9:00am, a thin, pale crescent of sun was shining through the clouds. The landscape darkened quite noticeably as the 89% peak approached. When watching the sun directly through the clouds became uncomfortable, I used my binoculars to project an image onto a sheet of white card. After the peak, the sky cleared almost completely as the moon slowly uncovered the sun, and by half-ten it was all over. There won't be another significant solar eclipse in the UK until 2026, although there's a very minor one (I think) in 2018, so I'm very glad the clouds obliged us this time!

On the same day I planted out my first batch of Bijou pea seedlings, which are about 8" tall now. The next day I buried some Desireé potatoes, including some of last year's crop that have sprouted some impressively long shoots in my larder. Then today, the Golden Sweet pea seedlings went in. The hopefully-hybrids will follow on Monday, though I'll be giving them their own, special area away from the parent varieties. I hope the wascally wabbit isn't still on the run; I haven't heard anything since had a note about it late last year. I'm sure I'll soon find out!

I've missed the garden this winter. Happy Equinox! Happy Spring!
raspberryfool: (The wind changed...)
All six of the hybrid pea seeds from last year's pea cross-breeding experiment, Bijou x Golden Sweet, have germinated; touch wood I'll have my cross. I can't wait to see what they produce! I'm expecting:

Anthocyanin (red colouration) in the stems and leaf axils (dominant, both parents, confirmed),
Tall plants (dominant, both parents),
Green pods (dominant, one parent (yellow is recessive)),
Small pods (unsure whether it's dominant or recessive, one parent),
Edible (mangetout) pods (recessive, both parents),
Purple flowers (dominant, linked to Anthocyanin production, both parents).

My aim is a large, yellow-podded mangetout type, and I'm hoping the recessive genes I need to make those will express themselves in the next (F2) generation. The F1 plants should be genetically identical, so pod size and colour will be the signs that my jiggery-pokery has worked; if I get anything different from the above I'm just growing the parent varieties!
raspberryfool: (Gardening)
Summer has come at last and I'm beginning to feel as though all my hard(ish) gardening work is paying off. I've begun harvesting Golden Sweet mangetout pods since late May. Golden Sweet is a very beautiful variety of manegetout pea. Its tall plants produce bi-colour purple flowers the turn slowly blue as they mature. These are followed by pale yellow pods, which gradually fill with tender, sweet green peas making it a dual-purpose variety. Everyone I've shown them to loves them and it's not difficult to see why.Cut for boringness etc )

I've invested in a 22-Gallon water butt, which I've set up to capture run-off from my flat roof. Since I installed it we've only been blessed with a short, sharp night-time shower.
Water butt
raspberryfool: (Gardening)
I never thought I'd get excitied about peas. I rarely buy them, except dried ones in boxes which make great mushy peas. But I love crisp, fresh mangetouts and sugarsnaps. Despite the cold spring, the lacklustre summer and the predations of a certain wascally wabbit, the pea plants I planted out in February are doing very nicely. The younger plants are also coming along well, and I've been busily tying them into the canes for support, and to prevent them from growing crookedly along the ground.

I'm growing a heritage variety called "Golden Sweet", whose first pods are almost ready to pick. These are a mangetout type pea with beautiful, yellow pods and bi-colour purple flowers that never fully open. I'm going to have to discipline myself though, since I'll want some to mature for seeds.

yellow mangetout

The other pea variety I'm growing is "Bijou", which is a sugarsnap type which I'm promised has 7-inch long pods. In fact, everything about this variety is large – even the leaves! These also have beautiful, bicolour, purple flowers.



Peas and French beans are self-pollinating, so there's no need for bees to visit them and there's very little chance of accidental cross-pollination occuring since the anther and stamen are inaccessible. As an experiment I've taken pollen from each variety and used it to (hopefully) polintate the other in the hope of procuring a large-podded, yellow sugarspap variety. Rebsie Fairholm's website Daughter of the Soil has loads of information about breeding vegetables and is a wonderful (but alas no longer updated) resource.
raspberryfool: (Gardening)
On Saturday last, whilst looking through my kitchen window, I saw a rabbit sitting in the garden. I went out to look closer; it didn't run off as soon as it saw me, but waited until I was about 4 feet away, which told me it was somebody's pet. It couldn't get past my southern neighbour's fence and it couldn't get out into the allotments. Hoping it would find its own way home, I went about my business until late afternoon.

But it was still there, munching away happily on my grass, so I knocked on a few doors. A woman seven doors down turned out to be the owner; she'd bought it in November as a "house rabbit", but it wrecked her house so she built it a run in the garden – obviously not very successfully. She came up to my garden but neither of us could catch the bloody thing; apparently it's called "Binky" – I'd run away if somebody called me that! That night I was chatting over the fence to an allotment holder who has killed thousands of rabbits; he saw it and said it was a wild rabbit. However it probably wouldn't survive for very long in the wild.

By Sunday, it had found my growing pea plants and was munching away on them. There's not much I can do about this apart from shooing it off. The allotment holder said he'd lend me a live trap but hasn't, so I erected a barrier around part of the "Midsummer" plot from glass and boards which seems to work. I was hoping that without access to the peas it would get bored or hungry and go elsewhere but it got to work on my strawberry plants. I can't keep it off the strawberries because the plot is too large and I don't have anything to surround it with. So I took to shooing it off – where's Elmer Fudd when you need him?

Yesterday it was still around. Clearly frustrated by the lack of pea access it had somehow got through the southern neighbour's fence and was busy exploring their garden. I couldn't block up the access to my garden because they have a dog, which is usually let out each evening. As it happens I was cutting the lawn when their French door opened. A few minutes later, the rabbit came shooting through a tiny gap in the fence, straight across my garden and under the hedge! I'd never seen it move so quickly, even when I shooed it off. I didn't see it today so hopefully it's found its way home and learnt that it's better off there! However I'm not taking any chances; the pea fence will remain for a while at least. Now if only it could be taught to eat dandelions, slugs and snails...